To Keep or Not to Keep Notes

So this blog is more of a question really.

What do you do with your notes when you’ve finished a script/book if you’ve hand written them?

Maybe this is my bad for writing notes on notepads for so long but I have a whole wardrobe filled with notes for different scripts of which quite a few are completed.

It’s my hope that the ones that I’ve never really started, or are unfinished, I can scan the notes onto my computer and save them as PDF so that they don’t take up so much room anymore, but what of the notes for completed scripts.

I can’t decide whether I still need them or not. A lot of the notes will be irrelevant any way due to later drafts, re-writes etc, but there’s still a lot of information within them. If I sold these scripts and had to do another rewrite do I think I would go back to these notes or start afresh with the document in front of me. I’m just not sure.

I have folders and folders worth of notes that take up so so much room and just can’t decide whether they are still needed or not.

If I get rid of them, that’s that. No getting them back. But surely my script contains all the information I need about the project along with my outline and treatment.

I could scan them as well, but that feels very daunting. There really are a lot of notes and I’d rather spend the time writing new scripts or trying to get noticed the ones that are finished.

Part of me wants to just get rid of them. Like that’s done and I’m happy with what I’ve got and if anyone wants changes in the future I’ll be taking into account their notes not mine. But another part of me worries that I will need something.

But would that something be a make or break thing… Probably not. After all it isn’t factual. I can always decide something new for the character or story rather than trolling through 500 pages for a single detail.

And like I said I’m pretty certain half them notes are redundant. just part of the process to find the story and characters I ended up with.

I think I’m leaning towards not keeping them. I want to get rid of the clutter and scanning them all really is a massive job for work that’s already completed.

Am just keen to know if anyone else is in this situation with scripts or books and whether they kept their notes or not.

Stephen.

 

New Blog Started.

Over the last week I’ve been working on setting up a new blog to record the next chapter in my life. While I’m still very much in a holding pattern at the moment, and everything is feeling a little static, it felt like a good time to at least start the blog and begin to look forward.

I’m hoping with this new blog that I can create something that I’ve enjoyed as much as writing this one and hopefully be able to expand on more topics and show off more work. While this blog has changed a little over the year it’s been up the new one allows for more scope and expansion.

I intend to keep this one going and hopefully still update it often but if I have cross over posts I’ll more than likely put them on the new one as that’s more where my long-term blogging future lies.

I love this blog, it’s been the first time I’ve really had success in keeping a blog regularly updated and read, but now feels like the right time to divide my attention to something bigger. Come the end of my latest renewal at the end of the year I will see where the two lie and whether its better to just run the one or keep both going.

For the moment please check out and follow my new blog. Have links to all the social media on there as well as some work up on YouTube which by the end of the year should contain a hell of a lot more.

kettleontravels.com

Thanks

Stephen

 

 

Joanna Music Video’s

So after my last blog (Music Video’s I Love Vol 2)  I got some feedback from one of the artists asking why there wasn’t any words about her video so this blog is to make amends (And stop her moaning about it) 😉

Joanna’s music videos are crazy. Like completely crazy and I love them. Having seen some of her older work that’s  pretty normal on the sanity scale (but also very good, especially wild world) this makes the latest ones even more nuts.

I’ve taken part in plenty of 48 hour film challenges and this is what her videos remind me off. There’s skill there, but its the resourcefulness and creativity  that really excites me. Most of the video’s look there there’s no budget there at all, or at least low-budget, and that just seems to encourage more and more funnier solutions to certain parts of the different music video’s.

While isn’t it exciting is my favourite because off its pure energy and execution of the idea the rightful heir video features my favourite moment with someone being thrown down the stairs. With no budget for stunts they use a clever cut away instead and it just lands perfectly for me. My sort of humour, and the sort of thing that always got a great laugh at these 48 hour film challenges. Film making at its most fun.

Other video’s like Truckin’ everyday make ‘full’ use of green screen and captures her craziness perfectly. Reminds me of a Lexx episode I once saw and makes me wonder whether she’s ever seen the ridiculously awesome Canadian German Sci-Fi. Alongside that is another video that looks like it was made while setting up the Trucking video which again as a film maker I can’t help but love little things like that. I wonder whether it was planned or spontaneous it’s that well done.

There’s just a certain energy level and weirdness that’s always there that just works. I feel it has to be very genuine as could easily be cringeworthy or to insane, but isn’t at all. It’s just fun, every single time. She’s clearly someone who loves the creative process and backs up my theory that Music Video’s can be more than just promoting the song. While that will always be their main purpose there’s definitely room to tell a great story or a fun sketch within them and watching these doubles my belief in that.

So I hope this blog makes up the last for her and that she continues to make such incredibly fun music videos that always make me laugh and smile and somehow not turn away from the screen cringing. Don’t know how she does it, but just works, and would love to one day work with her and see the craziness unfold live. Would be a lot of fun.

Here’s some more examples of her work below and plenty more can be found on YouTube and as she doesn’t seem to promote her own work will mention that her latest album House of Bullies is also out.

 

Stephen

Music Video’s I Love Vol 2

So as I enjoyed writing and sharing the first blog about Music Video’s from Asia I loved I thought I’d do a follow-up.

I can’t say enough good things about the Indie scene over there. I’ve gotten more into music in a big way of late and it largely due to hearing what’s been coming out of Taiwan. I’ve discovered plenty more English and American bands as well recently, but Taiwan Indie seem to have a direct link to my heart at the moment.

So here’s a bunch more Asia MV’s that I love and from bands I hope to maybe work with in the future.

Film Books

Not to long ago I wrote a blog about my DVD collection and how I intend to get rid of most of it. Well apparently I’m going through a phrase as now I’m looking at my film books in the same way.

While nowhere near as large as my DVD collection I think I have a pretty good collection of film books. Tons of script writing books from Syd Field, Robert Mckee and others including my personal favourite Christopher Vogler The Writer’s Journey through to the ones I got for university like Film Art and Old Hollywood books. Have different genre books like Nazi Cinema, Gender studies in French New wave, Hong Kong cinema and actual scripts.  Alongside this there are books on editing, cinematography, storyboarding, different directors and books on directing. I’ve pretty much brought a book for everything and have read plenty of them a few times over.

But recently I haven’t really touched them. I got rid of about 30 once and kept only the ones I really needed (Around 100) but not sure how much I really do need them now. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with them because actually a lot of them are fantastic books. It’s just, I’ve read them. I find myself skimming through them every now and then to find a particular subject but then when I do further research online I’ll find the same thing again, or better still have discussions on Twitter about the subject.

There’s a few I pick up more than others still, so I’ll keep them for the moment, but in all likelihood I’ll try to get them on iBook if I need them.

I loved my film books. Much like my DVD collection it felt like something that made me serious about movies. In a sense I guess that’s kind of right, but more important is the knowledge I’ve gained from them rather than having them. They feel kinda wasted on my book shelf now. If I sell or donate them someone else could learn what I have from them. That’s not to say I still can’t learn from them, of course I can, but I’m not really a beginner anymore. I don’t need a lot of the step by step stuff and for troubleshooting I turn to the internet or have conversations.

I’ve spent the last few years complaining about how small  the film book section have got in bookshops so part of me feels hypercritical writing this blog about getting rid of my film books, but I just don’t read them anymore. If I could transfer them all to digital copies I would. Again I know people in my life that would hate me saying that, and I feel a little dirty saying it myself as I still love the physical form of books, but I have got used to reading on my iPad and find it more convenient.  Where I just need them for reference now rather than a whole read it just feels practical especially with the bookmarking options.

I think I’ve just reached a point in my life where I don’t really need stuff at the moment. That I spend most of my time using my MacBook, camera and phone to create and research. If I could transfer my books and films onto there as an exchange for the physical copy I would. Right or wrong, it’s just how I felt at the moment.

So like the DVD’s the books have taught me a lot, entertained me and massively increased my knowledge. But I think for the vast majority, it’s someone else’s turn to enjoy them.

 

Stephen.

(After writing this blog I put a few on Amazon to sell. Think this link should take you too them if interested)  Steve5by5 Amazon

Writing Naked

And now for something completely different…

…Writing Naked.

Is there a better way to write? I don’t think so.

I can’t be the only way who likes to do it, in fact through a few conversations I know I’m not. I reckon every writer must have done it at some point even if it’s not a regular thing. There’s just something about it right… right?

I’m not saying I always do it, or can always do it for that matter considering how often I write in coffee shops (my favourite of all clichés), but there’s just something about it. I find it almost helpful. Freeing might be a bad word to use here, but I struggle to think of another way to say it (Although I’m sure if I got naked right now I would come up with several better words).

The words just flow that little bit easier. Maybe it’s because it really is just you and the keyboard, or because of some vulnerability or freedom. Or because you’re at your most relaxed or it’s fucking cold and you just want to get the word count complete so you can get dressed. But I don’t know. There’s just something.

I’ve practically written whole scripts this way. I know a musician who told me she wrote her whole album that way. It just gets the creativity flowing. Maybe it’s just being in that natural state. There’s just something. You know.

I haven’t done any research on the subject which maybe I should as it interests me enough to write a blog about it but I’m sure there has to be some biological or chemical reason for it. It just feels right. It can’t be coincidence that I can get some of my best work done this way. That others have too. It’s not like it works with everything I’m sure, but with writing it’s like it’s meant to be done this way at times. Right? Right? You get what I’m meaning right? Just something… Something 😉

There are draw backs, especially when writing on a computer in that way. You’re only ever a click away from some form of distraction. And getting up to make a coffee can be a struggle, especially if you share the house as getting dressed and then undressed doesn’t feel as right. Like it breaks the naked momentum or something. So it isn’t always practical even in the comfort of your home. But these are minor setbacks I think.

Surely the creativity and word count created by the state far outweigh’s these drawbacks. Maybe I will do some research. Like I said, there must be a reason it works. Or am I crazy and it’s just me. But like I said I know others, but they’re also slightly crazy. But then most creative people are crazy so it can’t just be me. But it doesn’t sound normal at first. But it does feel normal. Natural. I don’t know. Where was I…

… Oh yes. There’s just something about it…

 

Stephen.

(Working out what image to use for this blog was a struggle).

 

Proof Reading

I hate it. I hate doing it, and I hate that it’s necessary. I mean I get it. Completely. But it’s just something that I’ve never been good at and find boring.

Back in school every single parent teacher night, every single report card, every single marked paper made some comment about my spelling and grammar. It was something that stuck with me through first school, middle school and high school. Even in college. Although by college i’d somewhat stopped caring. There was just always mention of it.

I get it’s important, I really do. But I worked hard to improve my spelling and grammar in school and while I could pass most spelling tests easily enough, that was just more memory. When I had to write an essay or story that’s when it showed and that’s when I’d get comments on it.

The problem  was that I wrote quickly. I had idea’s, stories, and I had to get them out. The quicker I write the more appalling my spelling becomes. Has just always gone hand in hand. It bothered me, I wanted to be better. But the improvement was never great enough. I’ve always been interested in writing. I wouldn’t say it became a big passion until around 16, but even before that I wrote all the time. Any chance to put pen to paper I was there, and I can tell you right now it wasn’t for drawing because my stick men where worse than my spelling.

So here’s the big thing that bothered me about it all. After being told how bad I was at it every year, I passed my English GCSE with ease. Very high B, 2 marks off an A. Turns out that at the time (Don’t know if it’s still true now) spelling and grammar accounted for about 5-10% of the actual exams. What the Fuck. So I was basically told my whole life how bad I was at English, but what they really meant was you suck at 5-10% of it. Why didn’t someone explain that better to me!

And that’s stuck with me. Now I think back on how well praised my stories where and how people found them interesting and wanted to read more. But that was always under the could do better in spelling part which was my main focus when reading my feedback.

So now as an adult (kinda) proof reading has become a big part of my life again. You can’t send scripts off riddled with mistakes or publish stories (something I’d like to do one day) with errors everywhere. It’s distracting and unprofessional.

The problem I have here is obviously the script should be judged on the story. Same for the book. Is it interesting? Do I care about or relate to the characters? Am I intrigued, excited, emotionally attached? When the film hits the screen no one can look for spelling mistakes. But at that point it’s not a written art as such. But again. I get it. Correct spelling and grammar along with formatting shows you’re professional and can save time for the reader producers etc. But as a writer being a storyteller and being great at spelling and grammar don’t just go hand in hand.

So what’s a writer to do?

For me personally I’ve worked very hard at it. But it’s not been easy. I get people I know who are strong at proof reading to go through my work for me after I’ve tried. (Luckily they’re kind enough to do it for free). I can see from script to script that I have far fewer errors than the last. My first script probably had about 10 a page. This latest one maybe one or two every 10 pages. Big difference. But that’s over a near 10 year period with the progress only really coming in the last couple of years.

I ignore spelling and grammar errors in early drafts because they’re only for me at the moment. When I have paid work and someone wants to see each draft as it’s done, that’s when I’ll be begging my friends to take a look, or paying someone because despite the improvement I’ll never trust myself to be perfect or even near perfect at all. I know there will always be mistakes.

It’s one of them skills in life I wish I can just do. Not sure why I can’t, I just don’t see the mistakes. When someone asks be what’s wrong with this and points to it, I can tell them. But I wouldn’t have spotted it on my own. Am sure there will be mistakes in this blog despite me checking it a few times over (And don’t tell me please, just let it be).

So I will continue to try. I’ll put in the effort. I always do. But I guess what it comes down to is I’ll always struggle and doubt myself when it comes to proof reading, have my whole life. But I’ve got a little better, and I’ve got friends who will help. So why not take advantage of them right 😉

 

Stephen.

 

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